A trip to the petrol pump by RR Patil’s Ambassador car fuelled a tortuous traffic snarl at Peddar Road after the vehicle collided with another around 11.45 pm on Wednesday. The home minister was not inside the car at the time.
The accident took place near the flyover next to the Porsche showroom at Cumballa Hill. Sources say the driver of Patil’s car was driving on the wrong
side, but he forced Gamdevi police to book the owner of the other vehicle.
The Ambassador’s driver said he had dropped off Patil at his residence in Chitrakoot, Walkeshwar, and was en route to get petrol. The driver was being accompanied by a handful of the home minister’s security personnel. According to sources present at the scene, RR Patil’s car arrived from towards Hanging Garden and was headed for Grant Road from the wrong side when it collided with a Honda Accord.
The Accord grazed against the Ambassador, causing minor damage. An argument broke out between Patil’s men and the driver of the sedan. A witness said, “Even though the vehicles halted right on the road, neither party was prepared to budge and the stalemate continued for about an hour and a half. Traffic had come to a complete halt.”
Meanwhile, MiD DAY’s lensman Bipin Kokate reached the spot and witnessed RR Patil’s security men relaxing and chatting in the middle of the road. Gamdevi police, who had jurisdiction, appeared helpless as the state home minister’s car was involved.
Patil’s men could be seen making several phone calls, and MiD DAY learnt that the minister had been informed about the mishap. Interestingly, no police officers showed up at the scene. Later, phone calls and back-channel communications complete, both parties drove to Gamdevi police station. Here, the driver of the Accord car — identified as Anwar Ali Shaffique alias Mamaji — was penalised Rs 600.